Riga Stradins University Faculty of European Studies Department of Political Science Academic Study Program Degree of Master of Social Sciences in International Relations



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Riga Stradins University

Faculty of European Studies

Department of Political Science

Academic Study Program

Degree of Master of Social Sciences

in International Relations

(code 45310)

Riga, 2007
CONTENT


CONTENT
I. Application for the accreditation of the Study Program 3

II. Master Degree Study Program “International Relations”: Self-assessment

Report 5

  1. Aims and tasks of the Master’s Study Program 6

  2. Organisation of the Master’s Study Program 6

  3. Practical realisation of the Master’s Study Program 7

  4. System of evaluation 9

  5. Perspective evaluation of the Master’s Study Program from the

perspective of the interests of Latvia and international community 9

  1. Comparison of the Master’s Study Program with the similar

programs of the foreign universities 11

  1. Students of the Master’s Study Program 12

  2. Academic staff of the Master’s Study Program 13

  3. Financial sources and technical and methodological provision 14

  4. External relations 15

  5. Development Plan of the Master’s Study Program 15


III. List and Course Descriptions of the Master’s Study Program 17
IV. List and CVs of the academic staff of the Master’s Study Program 48
V. Appendix 88

  1. Lists of courses, teachers and course planning 89

  2. Senate decisions on program introduction and admission requirements 92

  3. License by Ministry of Education and Science 97

  4. Confirmation of possibility to transfer to other program 98


I. APPLICATION FOR THE ACCREDITATION OF THE STUDY PROGRAM

APPLICATION

For the Accreditation of the Master’s Study Program “International Relations”

Name of the Study Program International Relation


Code of the Study Program 45310
Duration and volume of the

Study Program 2 years; 80 credit points


Address and phone number Dzirciema Street 16,

of the higher educational Riga, LV-1007

institution 7457605
Registration number

of the higher educational

institution 3341202042
Place and way of the Realisation RSU Faculty of the European Studies

of the Study Program Full-time studies


Admission requirement Degree of Bachelor of Social Sciences
Degree obtained Degree of Master of Social Sciences in

International Relations


Name of the higher educational Riga Stradins University (RSU)

institution

Authorised person: Dr.pol.sc. Andris Sprūds, docent of Riga Stradins University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science and convener of the Master’s Study Program “International Relations”


II. MASTER DEGREE STUDY PROGRAM „INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS”

SELF-ASSESSMENT REPORT

1. Aim and Tasks of the Master’s Study Program

The strategic aim of academic study program is to provide theoretical knowledge and develop research skills to prepare for independent research in the chosen scientific field.


The aim of the Masters Program – “International Relations” is to prepare highly qualified specialists in international relations who would be able to do scientific research and make analyses and evaluation of the international processes at both global and regional level.
The topicality of the Master’s Study Program is determined by trends in contemporary European and word’s politics, changes in the world’s political situation, integration of the countries which have regained independence after the collapse of the social system into global politics at a new quality level, necessity to resolve practical problems of Latvia’s domestic and foreign affairs grounding them on the results of the theoretical research. The actuality of the Program is emphasized by the necessity to develop a stable political international and regional system, as well as the strategic aim of the Baltic States including Latvia is to use political and economic opportunities provided by the European Union and NATO.
The tasks of the Masters Program are:

  • to give theoretical knowledge on tendencies and influences of the development of international politics;

  • to give knowledge on actual problems of political economy of the European Union and the world;

  • to give knowledge on the defining process of international politics in Latvia, comparison of this process with the European and the world countries;

  • to evaluate Latvia’s and other Baltic States’ place in the EU political and social space in future;

  • to develop skills to do independent scientific research grounded on modern methodical and methodological principles;

  • to develop critical thinking and ability to foresee the development of political processes, develop skills for analysis of alternative situations;

  • to prepare for doctoral studies, enhancing positive motivation for obtaining PhD degree

The Master’s Study Program has been developed by examining and analysing the programs on international relations offered by the EU and the USA universities and it complies with the requirements of the State Academic Education Standard.



2. Organization of the Study Program

The Master’s study programme is designed for full-time students and is realized in 4 semesters (2 academic years). It consists of theoretical courses and the Master’s Paper. To graduate successfully students have to attend all theoretical courses, pass examinations, prepare and defend required projects, course papers and the Master’s Paper. For the latter the 4th semester is envisaged.


The teaching process is organized according to module system, implying students’ active independent work and involvement of the famous Latvian and foreign experts of the field. On average students complete 4 subjects in a semester. The volume of the study programme is translated into credit points. For each module student receives 5 credit points. The total volume of the Master’s Study Program is 80 credit points, including 60 credit points or 75% for theoretical courses (A and B part) and 20 credit points (25%) for working out and defending the Master’s Paper. Credit points are given for each completed subject if the evaluation at the of subject is positive. The study program consists of two parts: A part - core subjects and B part – electives. The theoretical part of the Master’s Program focuses on the fundamental theories and research in the field of politics as well as mastering of latest cognitions and discourses in politics.
At the end of the second year, students work out a scientific project – the Master’s Paper which consists of 60-80 pages. The Master’s Paper is a research work which discusses original issues of the field as well as comprises independent scientific conclusions and suggestions. During the studies students develop research skills that would allow them to carry out independent researches and they also accumulate experience by working out an individual projects on the topics given or coordinated with the teacher. In this process students are required to learn and adhere to the basic principles of research work – use various sources in Latvian and foreign languages, to develop accurate and correct structure of the research work and list of sources.
The Study Program corresponds to the aims and tasks of the Riga Stradins University. It provides the graduates of the Faculty of European Studies with opportunity to continue their studies to obtain Master’s Degree and raise their qualification by obtaining Degree of Master’s in International Relations. It means that succession of the study programs will be ensured which will positively affect the development of the Faculty of European Studies in future. Necessity of the Program also can be explained by the transition from 4 year study programs to 3 year study programs. Majority of the students studying in the Bachelor’s Program would like to continue their studies at the Master’s program due to the competent and experienced teachers who have a good mastery of the subject and are able to provide sophisticated learning experience. For the Degree of Master’s in International Relations the graduates from other Latvia’s universities who take interest in integration processes in the world and problems of the European Union and Central and East Europe are eligible. Alumni of Master’s Study Program are prepared to continue their studies in the Doctoral Program of the RSU Faculty of European Studies as well as in other universities. They will be able to use their knowledge to develop and convene subjects for the Bachelor’s Study Program.


3. The Practical Realization of Master’s Study Program

Teaching forms and methods. The main teaching form of the study program is lectures which make 60% of the total number of contact hours in which according to the study programme and the subject content the teaching materials, seminars, practical classes (making 40% of the total number of contact hours) are provided as well as students’ independent work is included in it. The following teaching methods are used in the programme: concretisation of theoretical knowledge the students master at seminars, analysis of dilemma situations, tests, home assignments, working out the course papers and individual and group projects. Particular focus is put on students’ independent work – analysis of literature, essay writing for seminars, working out of reports and individual projects. In this process the teachers take the role of consultant, expert and supervisor.
The teaching methods aim to develop students’ skills to analyze crosswise political situations applying theoretical knowledge and logically assess the prospective development of events in the future. Much attention is paid to students’ independent work that is directed to the mastering and analysis of scientific literature, writing summaries and essays per each lecture and seminar, preparation of papers and projects as well as course papers. The task of teachers is to help the students organize independent work if necessary to consult and supervise. There are 5 hours for consultation in each module envisaged. Each academic course will be provided with a detailed course description which contains accurate information about the course topics, teacher’s requirements, core literature and themes of the assignments. In order to facilitate the mastering of the material, copies of the books from the course literature list will be provided. Teachers mostly are available also apart from the consultation hours. The Master’s Study Program “International Relations” has clearly defined the procedure with the students who have not submitted the assignments and are lagging behind. Catching up procedure takes place according to the Instruction about the Studies at the RSU. Students who are lagging behind are allowed to catch up with the subject assignments during the schooling year. In August, teachers of the Department work with those students who have not finished the course and have an academic debt. Students are informed about their academic debt and if necessary the Department ensures them additional consultations.
The scientific experience and activities of the academic staff involved in the realisation of the study program (look for the detailed description of the academic staff in the Chapter 7) allows ensuring a meaningful learning process and reciprocal integration of scientific and academic process. It must be admitted that there is a lack of the well-qualified teachers for certain courses in Latvia therefore foreign lecturers were invited to give the course or our teachers were stimulated to work out the necessary courses. It must be taken into account that the political science in Latvia started to develop after the regaining of independence in 1991 and the lack of the experts in the field is noticeable. There is a lack of the well-qualified teachers on subjects related to the EU problems.
Department of the Political Science is aware of the necessity to ensure several enhancements to perfect the Study Program: to continue to improve the study process by putting into practice students’ suggestions and proposals, introduce new subjects in the B part (compulsory electives), continue cooperation with visiting scholars and guest lecturers to get students familiar with the experience and practice from similar study programs, to foster the academic experts to develop practical courses with the aim to train experts in foreign policy as analysts and practitioners.

One of the indicators of the academic life of university is the level of involvement of students in various extra-curricular activities both academic and social. One of the very important and potential activities is involvement of students in the research projects carried out by the Faculty and Department. At the moment students of the Master’s Study Program are exploiting and actively using the opportunities which are offered by the international institutions which develop projects in Latvia and other countries. Students have participated and are planning to participate in the Conference of Students Scientific Research Papers organized by the Faculty of European Studies as well as social and scientific events of Latvia (i.e. academic events organized by LATO and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the framework of Riga NATO Summit 2006) and scientific conferences outside Latvia (conference on the Baltic Sea Region in Tampere in June 2007), scientific Summer Schools and Institutes (Institute 2007 organised by the Institute of Foreign Affairs of Germany).



4. System of assessment and evaluation

The system of assessment and evaluation is worked out in accordance with the Instruction about the Studies at the RSU and for each course the course description is provided. The knowledge and skills are evaluated according to 10 point system which allows to give objective evaluation. In all study programs of the Faculty the students’ work, knowledge and skills are evaluated by accumulating the average mark. The final mark is calculated out of the total of all the marks received at the seminars, tutorials, essays, reports, and examination. This system of evaluation prevents students from learning shortly before exam and motivates them to learn systematically throughout the semester.


The system of evaluation is given in the course description of each subject. At the beginning of every module students get acquainted with the assessment criteria. The knowledge is evaluated according to 10 point system where 4 is the lowest mark and the final mark is calculated out of the total of all the marks received.
The assessment is done taking into account the following points:

  1. Attendance of lectures and seminars, participation and excellence of knowledge in seminars and tests;

  2. Written assignments – essays in which students give critical analysis of scientific papers, provide their opinion;

  3. Report or an individual project. The aim of the report in to develop the ability of students to analyze and identify the essence of the basic problem of the theme, to estimate alternative opinions, to find solution to the problem.

  4. Examination. The examination schedule is worked out in accordance with the terms of the whole study process - at the end of the study course.



  1. The perspective evaluation of the Study Program from the perspective of the interests of Latvia and international community

Academic Master’s Study Program “International Relations” corresponds to the Standard of Academic Higher Education (approved 3 January 2002).
The academic Master’s Study Program “International Relations” is worked out in accordance with the 4th level state Standard of Academic Higher Education with the qualification level No.6. The program aims to train highly qualified specialists in political science who will be able to do scientific research with the aim to use these results in practical work, analyze and evaluate the dynamic changes in political field of Europe and Latvia.
The content of the study program allows to fulfil the aim set. The volume of the Master’s Study Program is 80 credit points (according to the Standard) including 20 points for the Master’s Paper. Duration of the full-time studies is 4 semesters (not set in the Standard). Master’s Study Program consists of the compulsory part – 40 credit points (the Standard implies not less than 30 credit points), Master’s Paper – 20 points and the compulsory elective part – 20 credit points (the Standard implies not less than 15 credit points).

On completion of the program students are conferred the Degree of Master of Social Sciences in International Relations (code 45310).


The topicality of the Master’s Study Program is determined by the modern tendencies in political integration, changes in the global politics, necessity to solve international and domestic problems using the results of theoretical researches. The actuality of the program is strengthened by the necessity to promote the growth of the democratic institutions and the civic society in Latvia, to develop a stable political system and to fulfil the strategic aim of Latvia and the other Baltic States – to use the political and economic opportunities provided by NATO and the EU.
The problem that is faced is the lack of highly qualified experts in Latvia’s universities and research centres who could work out and teach new courses on global politics, European integration and regionalisation and the problems of international politics of the Baltic States, participate in international scientific and practical projects. Latvia’s people who are interested in acquiring the knowledge on these topics are forced to seek for leaning opportunities in the foreign countries. As a result having graduated they often choose to seek for job opportunities there and stay in those countries. This leads to the loss of the qualified and competitive labour force. That creates necessity to develop academic programs which would improve the training of the qualified specialists in international relations and European studies. Academically trained specialists will become a potential staff for academic and scientific institutions able to promote integration process working and governmental and the EU institutions.
Comparison of the Master’s Study Program with the similar programs offered by other universities of Latvia. There is only one Master’s study program in International Relations available in Latvia. (Master’s study program in International Relations offered by the University of Latvia, Faculty of Economics and Management .) This program deals with analysis of economic and juridical processes and confers the Degree of Master of Economics in International Relations and the Degree of Master of Law in International Relations. The issues of international relations as a part of curriculum are also offered by the UL Faculty of Social Sciences Master’s Program of Political Science. Apart from the differences of content there are also differences in the organizational part of the studies. RSU has system of modules while the duration of the UL courses is a semester. Another difference observed is the amount of independent work. The RSU assignments cover markedly bigger amount of work which is reflected in the students’ essays on the topics included in the course syllabus.
The Master’s Study Program includes the theoretical courses on the specificities of international political processes in the world, Europe and the Baltic region. A special attention is paid to the analysis of the political processes, its quantitative models and their practical application. On completion of the Study Program the students will be knowledgeable on the issues of the international politics of the world, Europe and Latvia. They will be able to do analysis of comparing politics. It will help to increase the competitiveness of the experts in both the domestic and international labour market and they will be required in Latvia as they will be able to give consultations to the EU institutions which (kuras uztur sakarus ar Latviju). Taking into consideration the arguments mentioned above the Master’s Study Program “International Relations” developed by the Riga Stradins University Faculty of European Studies can be evaluated positively and can meet the interests of both the state of Latvia and international community.



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